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  1. Keegan Knittle
  1. University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Helsinki, Finland


Background: Regular physical activity (PA) has clear benefits for individuals with rheumatic diseases, but PA levels among these individuals consistently fall below recommended levels. While interventions to increase PA are often successful in the short term, these effects are not generally maintained over time. Therefore, to be able to optimally support PA maintenance, rheumatology health professionals should be familiar with the relevant theory and evidence base for behavioral maintenance.

Objectives: This talk will outline several psychological theories of behavioral maintenance, and present evidence on the interventions and behavior change techniques most strongly associated with physical activity maintenance.

Methods: A review of the most recent and relevant health psychology and behavioral science literature surrounding issues of physical activity maintenance, particularly among individuals with rheumatic conditions.

Results: Theories of behavioral maintenance focus on social and environmental influences, motives, resources, self-regulation, and habits. Several studies will be presented to highlight the influence of these theoretical domains in PA maintenance among individuals with rheumatic disease. Physical activity interventions which specifically target these theoretical domains have the greatest likelihood to produce PA maintenance, and several case studies from successful interventions will be presented.

Conclusions: While helping patients to maintain PA is always a challenge, especially in the face of degenerative or progressive arthropathies, behavioral science can offer health professionals in rheumatology some theory and evidence-based methods to support PA maintenance in practice.

Disclosure of Interests: None declared

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